Like many items in the grocery store, toothpaste types seem to have exploded in recent years in the continuing goal of monopolizing shelf space. It used to be so simple — you looked for toothpaste with fluoride, and that was about it. Now, kinds of toothpaste promise to rebuild your enamel, to whiten your teeth, to prevent tartar build-up, basically everything short of brushing your teeth on their own!
Since whitening toothpaste are a big part of this expansion, the question is, do they work? Since we like our patients to be focused on prevention at Gentle Dental, here’s the lowdown on the effectiveness of whitening toothpaste.
Whitening toothpaste focus on surface stains on your teeth, such as those caused by drinking coffee or red wine. These stains are on the outermost surface of your tooth enamel. Whitening toothpaste can break down these stains, although not with instantly dramatic results.
Unlike teeth whitening options we offer at Gentle Dental, whitening toothpaste do not contain peroxide. This is the ingredient that gives teeth whitening programs their real power to whiten teeth. And, because it needs to stay on your teeth for a period to break down the stains, whitening toothpaste can’t have peroxide because toothpaste is used and then washed away within a couple of minutes. Instead, whitening toothpaste use special abrasives that gently polish the teeth, along with other chemicals that help break down stains.
There is a fine line here — too much abrasion and the tooth enamel can be worn down. That’s why whitening toothpaste can only go so far. Without peroxide, they must remove stains by gently scrubbing off the stains.
Some whitening toothpaste contains the chemical blue covering. This adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow. We do not recommend these types of whitening toothpaste.
Instead, we recommend looking for a whitening toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. These can give you moderate whitening.
Our whitening kits
For deeper whitening, check into our in-office and at-home whitening options. For our at-home whitening, we make custom trays and provide you with professional-strength whitening gel. You wear the trays for just 20 minutes a day for about one week, and your teeth will become many shades whiter.